Property owners often ask me if they need to upgrade their properties before they put them on the rental market or when they’re between tenants. They want to know if it’s important to remodel kitchens and bathrooms. Generally, I tell people that if they have to ask, the answer is probably yes. If your kitchen hasn’t been updated in 30 years, you probably need to do some remodeling. If it hasn’t been updated in 50 years, you definitely need to do some remodeling.

In San Francisco, we have high end tenants who are accustomed to nice things. They have good jobs, they are well-educated and they want clean, modern up to date appliances, attractive kitchens, good lighting and comfortable bathrooms. If your unit is tired and you have old appliances and the paint isn’t fresh and the linoleum floor is peeling, you won’t get a good tenant. You’ll get someone who doesn’t care how the place looks. Tenants like that will not take care of your property.

If you are planning to keep your rental for at least 10 years, it’s a good idea to invest now. Put money into it and get it to the highest standard you can. Get the best you can afford and you’ll get a better tenant and higher rent for the next 10 years.

You don’t want to over-improve if your property is in a transitional neighborhood. That doesn’t make financial sense. In neighborhoods like that, you don’t have to have the best property but you also don’t want to have the worst. In a trendy neighborhood where everyone wants to live, however, you really cannot over-invest. Make the improvements that will matter to your tenant base.

So the answer is yes – you should upgrade those kitchens and bathrooms. Make simple changes such as new light fixtures. That makes a huge difference. You want fresh paint and clean floors so that everything looks great and ready for tenants to move in. That’s the best way to attract outstanding tenants.

If you have any questions about how to upgrade and update, contact us at Gordon Property Management, and we’d be happy to help you.